Meister Eckhart on
Appearance & Reality
If you seek the kernel, then you must break the shell.
And likewise, if you would know the reality of Nature, you must destroy the appearance, and the farther you go beyond the appearance, the nearer you will be to the essence.
Our True Nature
The Two Truths
Wikipedia describes the Two Truths of Buddhism as
The Seventh of the Noble Eightfold Path is given as 'Right Understanding' by Wikipedia (although it is described as 'Right Thinking' in other places)
What 'appears to be' is the relative, the commonsense, the conventional which is normally regarded as true.
This 'common or garden variety' truth changes, but at any moment it is held to be true.
It appears to be true.
It is an apparency.
The personal sense of 'me' is a relative, commonsense, conventional truth.
The personal sense of 'me' varies over time - often within minutes or seconds and there are occasions when there is no personal sense of self at all, although it may not be recognised as such at the time.
The ultimate, deepest, absolute truth does not vary. It is not an appearance and so there are no times when it is there and times when it is not. It is always present.
Ultimate truths are not describable or definable in language as language itself is dualistic. However language can contain 'pointers' to the absolute truth - the use of words to point to our essential nature is an example of this.
Our essential nature is always present, does not vary and is not an appearance.
What then is the truth in the 'relative, commonsense, conventional truth?
What is the truth in 'what appears to be', in what varies over time ?
The truth in the 'me' is that it does not have any existence outside the content of thought. It has no existence in its own right. It just appears to be - it is not real.
The truth is that it is false.
To believe that the 'me' exists as a separate entity and it has a life of its own is delusion. It is believing in the conventional truth which is also the door to suffering.
The 'me' exists only in thought. What does that say about the 'suffering' of the 'me' - the one who we think we are?.
If the 'me' is an illusion then it follows that the suffering is an illusion. The 'me' is 100% thought. The suffering - and this is mental suffering - is also 100% thought.
To SEE through the 'me' - to see that it does not actually exist - is to see the truth of it - and therein lies liberation.
The 'me' appears to be and the suffering appears to be. They are appearances only - and they appear in the dream of 'me'.
The ego does not actually exist other than in thought. The content of thought does not have the capacity to be aware. Any apparent ability of the ego to be aware is an apparency only.
Awareness is fully present and is, of course, fully aware - but a thought arises that says "I saw that" - and in doing so attributes the awareness to a 'me'. If that thought is believed or taken seriously the 'me' appears to exist in that moment.
It is the current thought that refers to the ego which makes the ego appear to exist right at this moment. The apparent ego needs a continuous stream of thoughts (identifications) to give the impression, or indeed the conviction, that it currently exists. Without that - it is history.
Seeing through the illusion of the 'me' - and the 'me' IS history.
Seeing through means just that. Not just a 'bit of a look' at it. You can have a 'bit of a look' and still believe in it implicitly.
How do you know that the 'me' is alive and well? Extremely well, actually.
The story of 'me' continues to 'run' and suffering continues. They are the indicators.
Seeing through something means that it is transparent - you see through it instantly - just like a piece of glass.
A thought with a 'me' in it comes up - "They did not do that for my birthday" and is seen through as it arises. No delay - instantly. Seen for the joke that it is.
Ramana Maharshi says the only 'practice' you can actually 'do' that does not reinforce the 'me' is to look for the 'me' itself. He says that all 'practices' other than that reinforce the belief in the 'me' and perpetuate the suffering.
This is because they take for granted and enhance the belief in the 'me' which is supposed to carry out the practice itself.
The 'me' that apparently carries out the 'practice' which hopes to achieve something at some time in the future is a part of the dream, part of the delusion.
The practice itself is in the dream, carried out by a dream character.
Practices like that do not take you or me out of the dream.
The way out is to see through the dream of 'me'.
To well and truly see through it.
It is seeing that the truth is that it is false.
It is seeing through 'what appears to be'.
It is all in the SEE-ing.
Written by Mike Graham, 23 Nov 2008
'Sailor' Bob Adamson